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Three Indian engineers kidnapped in Kabul

Kabul, December 7
Three Indian engineers were kidnapped on the highway between the Afghan capital and the main southern city of Kandahar, a security source said.

Unknown armed men stopped the Indians’ car at 4:00 pm (1700 IST), 10 km north of Shahjoy in southeast Afghanistan’s troubled Zabul province yesterday, western security sources who requested anonymity said.

Their Afghan driver was beaten up. The armed men made off with the Indians and their car, the sources said.

Shahjoy, 280 km southwest of Kabul, in the heart of Zabul province, which has been rocked by violence, blamed Taliban militants.

The Indians were working for the Indian BSC/C and C joint venture firm which is helping to rebuild the important Kabul-Kandahar road.

The kidnapping comes less than a week after a Turkish road engineer was released after a month’s captivity by the Taliban which had demanded the release of fellow militants held in Afghan jails.

The road linking Kabul to the main southern city of Kandahar is one of the major reconstruction projects launched in Afghanistan after the collapse of the Taliban regime in late 2001.

Workers on the road have been attacked several times by suspected Taliban. The road is seen as a key project by the Afghan government in its drive to try to improve security and communications in the troubled south.

Abuja: India is “closely monitoring’’ the situation following the kidnapping of its engineers in Afghanistan and is in touch with the authorities there.

An official spokesman said that External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, who is here to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet, has been personally inquiring from the Afghan Government about the steps being taken for their release. — AFP

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